LyondellBasell’s Advanced Recycling Project Gets EU Grant

International chemical company LyondellBasell (LYB) has been selected to receive a 40 million Euro grant from the European Union (EU) Innovation Fund.

The money is to support the fully-electrified, industrial-scale advanced recycling demonstration plant the company plans to build at its Wesseling site in Germany. LYB’s MoReTec plant is one of the 41 projects selected in the EU Innovation Fund ‘Third Call for Large Scale Projects’. The EU is committing 3.6 billion Euro as part of its efforts to fund innovative clean-tech projects to support decarbonization. As reported by LyondellBasell, the MoReTec demonstration plant in Germany, which is expected to be started-up in 2026, will convert post-consumer plastic waste into feedstock for the production of new plastic materials to be offered under the company’s CirculenRevive brand. After completion, it is planned that the facility will have an annual processing capacity of about 50,000 tons, equivalent to the amount of plastic packaging waste generated by over 1.2 million German citizens per year.

Investment decision in November
In November last year, LyondellBasell informed about the final investment decision to build the company’s first industrial-scale catalytic advanced recycling demonstration plant in Germany. According to schedule, construction work will be completed by the end of 2025.

“We are committed to addressing the global challenge of plastic waste and advancing a circular economy, and today’s announcement is another meaningful step in that direction,” Peter Vanacker, LYB CEO, was cited. “Scaling up our catalytic advanced recycling technology will allow us to return larger volumes of plastic waste back into the value chain. By doing this, we will have the ability to produce more materials for high-quality applications, retaining value of plastics for as long as possible.”

The LYB MoReTec demonstration plant would close the gap for difficult to recycle plastics, the firm underlined. “Source One Plastics, a joint venture of LYB and 23 Oaks Investments formed in October 2022, will supply the majority of the processed plastic waste feedstock. The advanced recycled feedstock produced by the MoReTec facility will be used for the production of polymers sold by LYB under the CirculenRevive product line for use in a wide range of applications, including medical and food packaging.”

The MoReTec technology produces pyrolysis oil and pyrolysis gas. “Pyrolysis oil is a substitute for fossil-based materials used in polymer production,” LYB explained. “Typically, pyrolysis gas streams are consumed as a fuel, however, the MoReTec technology enables the pyrolysis gas to be recovered as well, contributing to the production of polymer and displacing fossil-based feedstocks, which reduces CO2 emissions. “ In addition, the proprietary catalyst technology would lower the process temperature, reduce energy consumption and improve yield. “With lower energy consumption, the process can be powered by electricity, including electricity from renewable sources.”

By this way, also the carbon footprint can be improved. “The recovery of pyrolysis gas as feedstock, lower energy demand, electrical heating design, displacement of fossil-feedstocks, and recovery of waste plastic from incineration or landfill result in a lower carbon footprint compared with fossil-based processes. This makes MoReTec a unique value proposition,” LyondellBasell is convinced.

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 1/2024, Page 20, Photo: LYB)